Explore the Bible Study: Faith Tested

3:33 PM

 

These past couple of years have certainly been filled with the full spectrum of downs life can throw at us including sickness, death, workplace changes, educational challenges, job-loss, mental, emotional, and social upheaval. All this has left many confused and wondering if there is any hope or if they can truly trust God for their future. This is why LifeWays Explore the Bible study: Faith Tested is so relevant. 

This is the first of several sessions that will focus on the Old Testament books of Job and Ecclesiastes. As you walk through these sessions you will discover that Job and Solomon dealt with many of the same questions might be facing. Hopefully God will use their answers to help you rediscover the joy of trusting God in all things.

The study begins with the book of Job. A study of Job will reveal the real life struggle we all have when dealing with difficult situations and changing circumstances. It reminds us that we can find comfort in the presence of God, even when we struggle with understanding His purposes.

Job 1:1-5 introduces the man, Job. He was a man of complete integrity, he feared God, and he turned away from evil.  It does not mean that Job was sinless, but that he was morally upright. Job was a faithful leader of his family and desired for his family to remain faithful to God. As many parents do, he constantly interceded to God on his children's behalf because he did not want them to be destroyed by sinful choices. He was a wealthy man owning vast amounts of property and animals. Because of his integrity and his wealth, he was considered one of the greatest men among the people.

Job 1:6-7 gives you a rare look into the day-to-day life in Heaven. The angels (created beings; angelic hosts; sons of God—not to be confused with the Son of God) are coming to present themselves before the Lord. In the midst of this gathering, Satan also showed up. Once the highest archangel, Satan, had been banished from heaven for his rebellion against God. Yet, mysteriously, he still could approach God’s throne in Heaven.

Who is Satan?

While the doctrine of Satan isn’t the primary focus of the session, a knowledge of Satan must be established in order to have a better understanding of what takes place in the book of Job. Here are Scripture references that will help:

  • He was an angel who rebelled against God (1 Timothy 3:6). 
  • He lost his position as a preeminent cherub (Ezekiel 28:12–16). 
  • His rebellion prompted one-third of the heavenly angelic host to rebel against God (Revelation 12:4). 
  • Satan’s hostility and hatred of God were clearly demonstrated by his role in the fall (Genesis 3:15; Romans 16:20) and his continual involvement in the affairs of heaven and men (Zechariah 3:1). 
  • To the people of God, he is the accuser (Revelation 12:10). 
  • Satan’s final destruction will be sealed in an eternal torment (Revelation 20:10).

In Job1:7, God asks a rhetorical question, “Where have you come from?” God knew where he had been and what he had been doing. He was roaming the earth looking for whom he could devour (1 Peter 5:8). He is always on the prowl as “the prince of this world” (John 12:31). 

Satan is set on:
  • Blinding minds (2 Corinthians 4:4)
  • Stealing God’s Word (Matthew 13:19)
  • Opposing God’s work (1 Thessalonians 2:18)
  • Sowing tares among the wheat (Matthew 13:37–40)
  • Tempting God’s people (1 Corinthians 7:5)
  • Attacking God’s Word (Genesis 3:1)
  • Spreading false doctrine (1 Timothy 1:3)
  • Persecuting God’s church (Revelation 2:10)
  • Deceiving the nations (Revelation 16:14)
  • Slandering and accusing believers (Revelation 12:10
  • Luring and tempting people to sinful actions (1 Thessalonians 3:5; Matthew 4:3)
  • Inflicting physical suffering (Job 2:1-10; 2 Corinthians 12:7) 
  • Scheming evil (2 Corinthians 2:11; 2 Timothy 2:26)
It's obvious that Satan is real and is actively at work attempting to destroy God’s plans. In this case, his attempt to destroy God involved attempting to destroy Job.

Satan's challenge to God - Job 1:8-12

Job was the model follower of God. What an incredible compliment for God to say of Job that there was no one else on earth like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil.  He praised the name of Job, his most trusted servant, knowing that Job would remain faithful to him if attacked by Satan. 

However, Satan insinuates that Job’s allegiance is hypocritical (v.9). Satan accused God of “buying” Job’s worship. Job, Satan insisted, worshipped God for what prosperity he could gain from him, not for who God is. Satan suggests to God that, if He were to allow Satan to remove Job’s many material blessings, this so-called worshipper would withdraw his praise and curse the Lord. 

God knew this wasn’t so, and, to demonstrate this, He agrees to remove the protective hedge He has placed around Job (v.10). Satan assumes this will destroy Job’s faith, love, trust, and devotion to God.  He believes Job will certainly curse God. Satan doesn’t care about Job; He only wants to destroy God through Job. 

So, Satan is given limited but gradually increased access to Job—first to his possessions, then to his family, and finally to his physical well-being.

Satan's devastating attack on Job - Job 1:13-19

In rapid succession, all in one day, Job’s blessings were lost. All his possessions were reduced to poverty. He lost his livestock, property, buildings, and servants. The final devastating loss came when his sons and daughters were crushed by the collapse of their house. Job didn’t know what we know. He didn’t know about the conversation between God and Satan. He didn’t know what God had said about his faith. He didn’t have a knowledge of Satan as we do. All he knew is that he lost everything.

We may experience sudden losses that are severe and seemingly unexplainable. We may go through seasons of life and even historical events such as COVID-19 that cause pain, loss, or disappointment. These events could leave us shell-shocked or bewildered. We may not immediately know what God is doing or why. We should realize there is an unseen spiritual component behind our suffering. 

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 reminds us that, For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (CSB)

Job's transparent yet amazing response to God - Job 1:20-22

Notice that Job genuinely mourns his losses. He stood up, tore his robe, and shaved his head in a very public display of grief, sorrow, and turmoil. Expressing grief is healthy, natural, and biblical. When we lose something or someone of value, we should take time to mourn.

Next, Job falls to the ground and begins to worship God. Job realized all his possessions, servants, sons, and daughters were gifts from God, who alone has the right to take them at His discretion. Therefore, he had no right to cling to them as if they were his. This lofty realization of God’s sovereignty led Job to declare, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Verse 22 is the most important statement to remember - Throughout all this Job did not sin or blame God for anything.
  • How would you respond if you lost what Job lost? 
  • Is there a way for you to be prepared for these kinds of losses? 
  • What perspectives do you need to have about God before and during times of testing?

God is in control - Easy to say, harder to live!

The Holman Old Testament Commentary on Job tells us this: “In the absence of understanding why a particular tragedy has struck, believers simply need to know that God Himself is in control. God’s thoughts are high above our thoughts, and his ways are far beyond our ways. Absolutely sovereign, yet infinitely wise, God’s ways are perfect. Thus, we can trust him. When tragedy strikes, there are no explanations sent from God explaining why such an ordeal has just been unleashed upon our lives. During life’s tragedies, when we most want answers, so often there are none. In these difficult hours we must simply trust God. 

When answers are not forthcoming and trials overwhelm us, it is in these difficult times that the greatest worship is offered to God. Believers must respond as Job did in these dark hours by worshipping God. Though circumstances change, often from bad to worse, God remains the same, eternally unchanging, always worthy of our worship. As Job found an anchor for his soul in God, so may we as we put our trust in him.” (Holman OT Commentary – Job)

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. Be sure to use this as a supplement to your study of the Explore the Bible Study resources provided by LifeWay.

Download PDF Version                  Download Word Version

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